Tag Archives: United Launch Alliance

Space Launch System (25)


Launch Abort System Installed for Orion Flight Test

NASA – The launch abort system for the Orion Flight Test is lowered by crane for installation on the Orion spacecraft inside the Launch Abort System Facility, or LASF, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The completed crew and service modules will be tested and verified together with the launch abort system. Orion will remain inside the LASF until mid-November, when the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket is ready for integration with the spacecraft.

Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and Mars.

It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.

The first unpiloted test flight of the Orion is scheduled to launch in December atop the Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to an altitude of 3,600 miles above the Earth’s surface. The two-orbit, four-hour flight test will help engineers evaluate the systems critical to crew safety including the heat shield, parachute system and launch abort system.

Image Credit: NASA/Cory Huston

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Space Launch System (24)


Rocket Boosters Prepared For Orion Spacecraft’s First Flight

NASA – Engineers took another step forward in preparations for the first test flight of NASA’s new Orion spacecraft in December. At the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF), at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, the three primary core elements of the ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket recently were integrated, forming the first stage of the launch vehicle that will send Orion far from Earth to allow NASA to evaluate the spacecraft’s performance in space.

The three common booster cores are 134 feet in length and 17 feet in diameter. Each has an RS-68 engine that uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellant producing 656,000 pounds of thrust. All totaled, the three Delta IV boosters collectively generate 1.96 million pounds of thrust.

The upcoming flight test will use the Delta IV Heavy to launch the Orion and send it 3,600 miles in altitude beyond the Earth’s surface. During the two-orbit, four-hour mission, engineers will evaluate the systems critical to crew safety, the launch abort system, the heat shield and the parachute system. The data gathered during the mission will influence design decisions and validate existing computer models. The flight also will reduce overall mission risks and costs for later Orion flights.

> Delta IV Booster Integration Another Step Toward First Orion Flight

Image Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

NASA technology (86)


Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Launch Lights Up the Night Sky

NASA – A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lights up the night sky over Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida as it carries NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, or TDRS-L, to Earth orbit. Launch was at 9:33 p.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 23 during a 40-minute launch window.

The TDRS-L spacecraft is the second of three new satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for NASA by expanding the lifespan of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) fleet, which consists of eight satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The spacecraft provide tracking, telemetry, command and high-bandwidth data return services for numerous science and human exploration missions orbiting Earth. These include NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. TDRS-L has a high-performance solar panel designed for more spacecraft power to meet the growing S-band communications requirements. TDRSS is one of three NASA Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) networks providing space communications to NASA’s missions.

> More about TDRS-L

Image Credit: NASA/Dan Casper

Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Ready For Launch From Cape Canaveral

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-L) spacecraft on board arrives at the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41. Liftoff is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23 at 9:05 p.m. EST, the opening of a 40-minute launch window. Live coverage on NASA TV begins at 6:30 p.m.

The TDRS-L spacecraft is the second of three new satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for NASA by expanding the lifespan of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) fleet, which consists of eight satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The spacecraft provide tracking, telemetry, command and high bandwidth data return services for numerous science and human exploration missions orbiting Earth. These include NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. TDRS-L has a high-performance solar panel designed for more spacecraft power to meet the growing S-band communications requirements. TDRSS is one of NASA’s three Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) networks providing space communications to NASA missions.

> More about TDRS-L
> Launch Blog

Image Credit: NASA/Daniel Casper

NASA technology (74)


Taking Flight at Cape Canaveral

NASA – The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA’s Mars-bound spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

MAVEN Spacecraft Launches to Mars

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft launches aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 1:28 p.m. EST on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013.

MAVEN is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. The trip to Mars takes 10 months, and MAVEN will go into orbit around Mars in September 2014. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

MAVEN Ready for Launch

At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station‘s Space Launch Complex 41 a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stands ready to boost the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft on a 10-month journey to the Red Planet. MAVEN is being prepared for its scheduled launch today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Positioned in an orbit above the Red Planet, MAVEN will study the upper atmosphere of Mars in unprecedented detail. Image Credit: NASA/Jim Grossman

NASA technology (73)


Night Before Launch of Mars-Bound MAVEN Spacecraft

NASA – A full moon rises behind the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft onboard at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Nov. 17, 2013.

MAVEN is the second mission under NASA’s Mars Scout Program. It will take critical measurements of the Martian upper atmosphere to help scientists understand climate change over the Red Planet’s history. MAVEN is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Mars-Bound MAVEN at the Launch Pad

Two days before the scheduled launch tp Mars, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft rolled out of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41 Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA technology (72)


MAVEN Spacecraft Positioned Atop Atlas V Rocket

NASA – NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft, inside a payload fairing, is hoisted to the top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station‘s Space Launch Complex 41. The move and hoisting operations mark another major milestone for the launch team as everything proceeds on schedule to launch Nov. 18, when the Atlas V will lift MAVEN into space and on to Mars. The two-hour launch window extends from 1:28 to 3:28 p.m. EST.

MAVEN is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. It will orbit the planet in an elliptical orbit that allows it to pass through and sample the entire upper atmosphere on every orbit. The spacecraft will investigate how the loss of Mars’ atmosphere to space determined the history of water on the surface.

> MAVEN Launch Information

Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA technology (31)


Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Launches
NASA – The umbilical tower drops back from a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket as it lifts off Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Launch, with NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-K or TDRS-K aboard, was at 8:48 p.m. EST on Jan. 30.

The TDRS-K spacecraft is part of the next-generation series in the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, a constellation of space-based communication satellites providing tracking, telemetry, command and high-bandwidth data return services Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Robert Murray